Near To The Heart Of God

This peaceful song was written in 1903, the same year the Wright Brothers made aviation history at Kitty Hawk, but remained relatively unpublished for its first thirty years. Around the early 1930’s its reach grew, and by now it has become a standard, appearing in 136 hymnals so far. It is no surprise a soft song about drawing close to God’s place of quiet rest would gain popularity with people living during the difficult 1930’s — and gain more during world war in the ’40’s — and through dramatic changes in the 50’s — and … well, in every decade since, still bringing comfort and blessing today. Please give it a sing-along listen, then let’s spend a few quiet moments together sipping heart words from the Lord.

“♫♪ Quiet rest where sin cannot molest ♫♪”

In the Bible the word translated as “sin” carries meanings leading us to think of sin — in part — as “missing the mark” and “being separated or apart from God”.

We should be aware that the enemy of God and His people has made an art form of tricking people to miss the mark, and then lead them to assume that means they must remain stuck in a state of being separated from God. Revelation 12 clues us in on one the enemy’s favorite tools to get this done: Satan accuses God’s people. This works marvelously for him because, after all, he is not making this stuff up. We do sin — we do miss the mark. We can see how the enemy’s accusation holds water.

But the right path forward is not Satan’s way, which is to stay separated from God, which is, by definition, to remain in sin. When he tries that with you and me, we need to tell him we are not buying.

In Romans 8 Paul tells us, instead, how God thinks about this: Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
[Romans 8:33]

So, being not ignorant of Satan’s devices — devices such as accusing — we get up, we move, we draw closer to God, which closes the distance between us and Him, and gets us pointed back toward “the mark”.

How are we able to do that? The answer is offered in our song’s chorus: “O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God ….” In Jesus Christ we have access to the Father.

Jesus Christ is the way. Satan is not.

It is up to us to move toward the Lord, and when we do — well, look what happens:
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. [James 4:8a NRSV]

As we draw near to God, by definition, sin recedes, and we enter a place of quiet rest — near to the heart of God.

“♫♪ Comfort sweet . . . Savior meet ♫♪”

God does not like sin, but that does not mean it is all He thinks about. We might wallow and wail and cry about it — owning up to our mistakes is not a bad thing — but let’s learn to see God as being more like the father in the story of the prodigal son. (See Luke 15, which reads in part, “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father …” I just love seeing that word “but” in these stories.)

God wants us to hit the mark, and is much more eager to engage us in our return than pile on us about our departure.

Our song speaks of “a place where we meet our Savior”. We can picture reaching out for the hand of Jesus and letting him lead us back to the Father, back to fellowship, reaching “comfort sweet.” Sweet indeed!

“♫♪ Full release . . . joy and peace ♫♪”

Sometimes songs chase words that rhyme at the expense of stretching truth. But I do not think this song’s pursuit of the rhyme shorted truth one bit. “Full release” — laying down the burden of sin consciousness and basking in the light of the Lord’s forgiveness and company — leads to “joy and peace”. Look how Peter slips the adjective “unspeakable” in with “joy”: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. [I Peter 1:8] Being in the Lord’s presence brings unspeakable joy. This applies to each of us personally. There is no getting lost in the crowd when it comes to your personal time with the Lord.

Let’s close with a few more verses that encourage us to draw near to the Lord:

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
[John 10:28 NRSV]

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
[Philippians 4:7 NRSV]

He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
[Psalm 91:1]

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
[Psalm 34:18 NRSV]

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.Selah.
[Psalm 32:7 NRSV]

He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
[Exodus 33:14 NRSV]

Quiet rest, comfort, full release, joy and peace — and the Savior — find these all by remaining near to the heart of God.

God bless you lots
-Dale R.

Download this song sheet

LYRICS – Near To The Heart Of God
Song by: Cleland Boyd McAfee (1903)

1 There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before thee,
Near to the heart of God.

2 There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

3 There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

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7 Replies to “Near To The Heart Of God”

  1. Julia Witchard

    Good early morning Mr Dale, Blessings and Greeting to all, ………. Thank u and Cathy once again for that beautiful song and sermon, ….. “NEAR TO THE HEART OF OUR FATHER GOD, THROUGH OUR FATHER JESUS, THROUGH OUR FATHER HOLY SPIRIT…… Just think for a moment, …. imagine being near to the “HEART OF OUR FATHER GOD”. That’s like HEAVEN ON EARTH “, ..Mr Dale my heart longs to be near to THE HEART OF OUR FATHER GOD” , But the only to get there is “THROUGH FATHER JESUS AND OUR FATHER HOLY SPIRIT…….. “QUIET REST WHERE SIN CANNOT MOLEST, …..The story has begun and it is broken down in those amazing verses from “THE HOLY WORDS, SPOKEN BY PROPHETS WHO DWELT AND FELT THE PRESENCE OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER GOD..”WHAT IF” We DWELT that close to OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, AS THOSE PROPHETS DID? …..If we pay close attention to how to get closer to “THE HEART OF OUR FATHER GOD, By reading your sermon,, The verses breaks down , being nearer or getting close TO THE..HEART OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER GOD Like u said Mr Dale… DRAW NEAR TO OUR FATHER GOD AND HE WILL DRAW NEAR TO US. ……… But we can only do that THROUGH OUR FATHER JESUS AND OUR FATHER HOLY SPIRIT…. Thanks Again , Mr Dale for that amazing song and sermon, ……. much 💕 and blessings to u and Cathy…. Always keep each other’s on fire with THE WORDS OF TRUTH….

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Julia, you summarized so beautifully with “being near to the “HEART OF OUR FATHER GOD”. That’s like HEAVEN ON EARTH”. I think that gives us a better idea of what Jesus meant with “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” The joy of the Lord is getting brighter in us and around us. Great days to be alive! Thanks for your note. God bless you lots — Dale R.

  2. Linda Youmans

    Thanks Dale, this is a beautiful song to remind me of how close our God always is. I Love the scripture and teaching you shared as well.

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Linda, thanks for your beautiful note. So many things swirling around us in life make us thankful to be able to be near to the heart of God. What refuge, strength and joy! God bless you lots — Dale R.

  3. Daniel Reichel

    Hi Dale,
    What a great song. I remember singing this one in church when we were kids. Lots of great memories. Thanks so much for sending this out. Near to His heart is my favorite place.

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Dan, we did indeed sing many wonderful songs in church when we were kids. The best times and best memories are near to His heart. Thanks for your note. God bless you lots — D.

  4. Paul Richardson

    Yes, Dale The best place to reside. In Christs peaceful bosom. One of the greatest hymns in all time… ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ Love these time honored lyrics also. Still True Today.


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